Anne of Denmark married James VI, King of Scots, in 1589 and was subsequently crowned Queen of Scots the following year. When he succeeded Queen Elizabeth I as King of England and Ireland in 1603, she and James were crowned together in Westminster Abbey.
Anne had only left Denmark in April 1590 as her wedding had taken place at Oslo after her fleet had been pushed back to land. Her future husband instead came to her to marry her. Preparations for her coronation were quickly underway as many foreign guests were expected. James himself had been crowned in 1567 as an infant, following his mother’s abdication.
No expenses were spared. Anne’s coronation robe was of purple velvet lined with Spanish taffeta. The pages and footmen who would attend her had new liveries of crimson velvet.1 The coronation took place on 17 May 1590 at the Abbey Church of Holyrood, the first with protestant rites. King James chose Robert Bruce to crown Anne.
Two processions made their way to the Abbey church. The first was led by James, in purple velvet and ermine robes. The second procession was led by the Danish nobles and contained the 15-year-old Queen Anne. In front of Anne was the Earl of Angus, who carried the sword of state, the Duke of Hamilton, who carried the sceptre and Chancellor Maitland bearing the cross.2
The entire service lasted for seven hours and included sermons in three languages. After Robert Bruce placed the crown on her head, the Countess of Mar opened the neck of Anne’s gown to allow for the anointing. Anne then entered the cabinet of the Abbey with her ladies to change into her coronation robes and then returned to her seat.
The crown was then placed on Anne’s head again by the chancellor while she was also handed the sceptre and the sword of state. She then took an oath to defend the rights of the church. Trumpets then sounded as heralds shouted, “God save the Queen.” The act of homage then took place as nobles knelt before Anne and took the oath. As the service ended, the procession once again formed. Still wearing the crown, Anne left the Abbey and returned to Holyrood House.
Thirteen years later, Anne and James would have a joint coronation as King and Queen of England and Ireland. On 25 July 1603, Anne and James went by river from Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster. In the pouring rain, they then walked to Westminster Abbey. It had been 70 years since a Queen consort had been crowned. Unfortunately, the attendance was relatively low due to fears of the plague. Anne had her own procession, and the sceptre and crown were carried in front of her by two Earls.
A spectator later wrote, “Queen Anne went to her coronation in a robe of crimson velvet with her seemly hair hanging down on her princely shoulders and on her head a coronet of plain gold, followed by the ladies of her household in their crimson velvet robes. She so mildly saluted her new subjects that the women weeping cried out with one voice, ‘God bless the royal Queen. Welcome to England. Long to live and continue.'”3 During the ceremony, Anne refrained from taking the sacrament according to the Church of England. She was seated next to James on a somewhat lower throne than the coronation chair.
After the coronation, James and Anne moved on to Woodstock Palace to avoid the plague.